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iPhone 4 rivals hit back on Steve Job’s accusation on having the same Antenna Problem – Smartphone Wars

Smartphone makers Blackberry, Samsung and HTC on Tuesday rejected claims by Apple chief Steve Jobs that other smartphones have antenna problems similar to those reported with the latest iPhone model.

The three rivals to Apple reacted after Jobs highlighted their devices at a presentation on Friday, saying other smartphones had similar antenna difficulties to the iPhone 4

Some users of Apple’s newest gadget have complained that they lose reception when covering the lower left corner of the phone in what has been referred to as a “death grip”.

The problem is caused by an unusual antenna that wraps completely around the iPhone 4. Apple offered free cases to customers to help remedy the problem.

Aiming to demonstrate the iPhone is not the only smartphone that loses signal strength when gripped a particular way, Jobs displayed a video of tests with devices from Canada’s RIM, Taiwan’s HTC and South Korea’s Samsung.

Apple also created an online page on “Smartphone Antenna Performance” at Apple.com showing the tests with RIM’s Blackberry Bold 9700, the HTC Droid Eris and the Samsung Omnia II.

However Samsung said Tuesday: “Based on years of experience of designing high-quality phones, Samsung mobile phones employ an internal antenna design technology that optimizes reception quality for any type of hand-grip use.”

Samsung officials added there had been no major customer complaints about the reception of the Omnia II.

Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the co-chief executives of RIM, said: “Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable.”

“Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation,” they said.

The RIM CEOs said their company “is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years.

“One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity,” they said.

Taiwan’s HTC Corp joined in rejecting Jobs’ claims, saying its engineers had overcome antenna problems in designing its smartphones.

“It is well understood by the industry that if enough of a phone and its antenna is covered, the RF (radio frequency) signal will be attenuated to some extent,” the company said in a statement.

“At HTC, we carefully engineer our phones to ensure that this effect is minimized in real-world use…. The results of this customer-centric approach can be seen in the satisfaction of our customers.”

Jobs on Friday acknowledged the iPhone 4 drops slightly more calls than the previous version of the smartphone, the iPhone 3GS, but said the issue had been “blown so out of proportion that it’s incredible.”

References: Inquirer, Apple and Agence France-Presse

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Apple is giving Free iPhone 4 Cases due to its Antenna Design Problem

Apple plans to give iPhone 4 users a free case in hopes of satisfying concerns about the design of its antenna and signal problems.

CEO Steve Jobs made the announcement (click here for the live blog) during a press conference at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Friday morning in response to a public-relations crisis over signal issues reported with the iPhone 4, which was unveiled in June. iPhone 4 owners will apply for the free bumper (a case that protects just the outer rim of the phone) online at Apple’s Web site, and owners who already purchased a bumper will get a full refund, Jobs said. (Apple will post a video of the conference here shortly, it’s not live as of 11:57 a.m. PDT.)

“We’re not perfect, phones aren’t perfect. But we want to make all our users happy,” Jobs said.

Jobs said Apple can’t make enough bumpers for of all 3 million iPhone 4 customers, so it’s contracting with third-party manufacturers and will offer customers a choice of cases.

Apple plans to continue offering these free cases until September 30, at which point Apple will re-evaluate whether or not that’s still the best solution. Jobs admitted that Apple’s internal iPhone 4 testing showed the phone dropped more calls than the iPhone 3GS, but said the number of additional dropped calls was extremely small and that competitive smartphones such as the BlackBerry and the Droid suffer from similar problems.

After the press conference ended, Apple posted photos, videos, and details about its testing process that were shown during the event. The issue occurs when iPhone 4 users touch a small area on the lower-left side of the iPhone 4 where there is a gap in the iPhone 4’s external antenna.

Jobs said just 0.55 percent of iPhone 4 owners called Apple to lodge complaints about the signal problems and return rates have been lower than they were for the iPhone 3GS. But a loud outcry against the design and Apple’s response to complaints exploded on the Internet, which in Jobs’ opinion was “blown way out of proportion.”

Apple faced a similar outcry in 2007 when it drastically cut the price of the original iPhone from $599 to $399, and the company delivered a similar response: a $100 store credit.

Source: CNET